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Growing: Verbascum (Ornamental Mullein)

Botanical Name: Verbascum
Life Cycle: perennial, biennial
Planting Time: spring
Height: 3' to 6'
Exposure: full sun
Soil: average to rich, well-drained soil
Hardiness: zones 5 to 8
Bloom Time: summer
Flower: variety of colors or flower spikes on branched stems
Foliage: silver green leaves
Propagation: division, seeds
Suggested Use: beds, borders, containers, cottage gardens, cut flowers and hummingbird gardens, culinary garnish and potpourri.
Growing Hints: Purchase plants or start seeds indoors several weeks before the last frost (they take up to two weeks to germinate). Root cuttings can be taken in the fall and grown indoors over winter or in a greenhouse or cold frame for transplanting in the spring. Verbascum hybrids are usually somewhat short- lived in the garden. They form large silver stalks full of rosettes the first year and produce flowers the second year. Avoid over watering these plants and you'll avoid root rot. Apply a slow release fertilizer during the second season. Divide plants carefully in the spring of the third season to reinvigorate growth.
Interesting Facts: Mulleins are somewhat deer resistant. These flowers are also said to have medicinal properties that ease digestive ailments. Widely distributed throughout the United States, wild species of common mullein are considered an ecological threat and a highly invasive species. They crowd out other native plants in a hurry and are difficult to eradicate once established.
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